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Policy changes result in fewer student suspensions in Buffalo

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Buffalo schools students are spending more time in class and less time on suspension, according to a report prepared in the wake of major changes in the system's disciplinary process.

The school system made big changes because so many students were being suspended. In 2010, Lafayette High School student Jawaan Daniels was suspended when he went to the bus stop to wait for a ride home, and was shot to death, a victim of an unrelated neighborhood dispute.

Riverside graduate and rising Fredonia freshman Vianca Morales says 2013 to 2014 statistics say it's all changing.

"When compared to the previous school year, short-term suspensions dropped by 60 percent and long-term suspensions were cut in half. Due to this decrease in suspensions, students across the school district gained over 7,000 days of instruction," Morales said.

"This new protocol is progressive and changed the shape of schools in the district but there is still work to be done."

Even though it's a heavily minority student population, students of color are far more likely to be suspended. The school board changed some of the rules Wednesday night, allowing cell phones to be carried when educationally related and allowed students to do community service if in trouble.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.